2017 has been a big year in the world of joint pain supplements. There have been new products that have come along and made a big splash in the business, some other brands have changed formulas in an effort to stay relevant, and new developments in science have pushed the entire joint health industry forward.
How Was This List Compiled?
In order to compile this list, our experts evaluated joint pain supplements by several different factors, including:
- Clinical data
Ingredients: Our team looked at everything that goes into these brands’ proprietary blends. They analyzed the effectiveness and the safety of each ingredient, weighing their expected results against all of the known short and long-term side effects.
Clinical Data: Our team looked into all of the studies that have been conducted regarding this brand and their ingredients. They are looking for scientific evidence that supports (or refutes) the manufacturer’s claims about their product’s effects.
Reviews: The reports from former customers that have actually taken the product were taken into account as well. The best way to understand how well a product works is to go directly to the people that have used it. Click here to find out if you would benefit from taking a joint health and mobility supplement, and if so which one will work the best for your needs.
What Makes an Effective Joint Health Product?
The main factors that joint pain supplements are fighting against are the general break down of the body’s joint support system and the pain and damage of inflammation. Most supplements will use a combination of ingredients that are effective for addressing at least one of these factors, and the best supplements are the ones that effectively handle both.
- Joint Support
The body’s joint support system becomes less and less effective as we age, requiring more and more outside support in the form of nutritional supplementation. Over time our bodies produce less collagen and so when the cartilage and joint tissue of the body breaks down we are less able to replace it. Joints become stiff and swollen, making movement painful and difficult.
The best supplements help boost the collagen synthesis process, helping your body’s natural repair functions work like they are supposed to. Glucosamine and chondroitin are the two most effective ingredients for stimulating this process. The occur naturally in the body’s joint tissues, and they are the chemical precursors to building new tissues.
- Inflammation Control
The other way that joint health supplements can be effective is by helping manage tissue damage and inflammation. If boosting collagen is a preventative measure, then inflammation control is what is needed to help curb the symptoms of damage that has already occurred.
Inflammation control is especially important for people dealing with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, as well as for athletes, people with repetitive motion or stress injuries – and for everyone dealing with the general wear and tear of aging.
Inflammation is both a symptom and a cause of joint damage. If collagen and synovial fluid are worn down in a joint, the bones can rub together painfully. Not only does this make even simple movements excruciating for the individual, but inflamed tissues can lead to further damage as well.
In theory, inflammation is one of your body’s protective response mechanisms. Whenever there is damage, stress, or toxic chemicals in a specific area, the body floods that area with what are meant to be helpful proteins. While in the short term this is effective, in the long term chronic inflammation takes a serious toll on the body.
When inflammation is allowed to linger or reoccur consistently, the body can start to change for the worse in response. Bone strength can degrade, the heart and lungs can become overworked and damaged, and depression, obesity, and gastro-intestinal disorders become far more common. When joints become swollen and inflamed it can be hard for the body to do the repairs that are necessary in order to avoid damage in the future, potentially turning smaller injuries into chronic ones.
There are thousands of different herbs and chemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties, and some are more reliable than others. The best ingredients for inflammation control include Omega-3, 6, and 9, which comes from sources like fish or flaxseed oils, and the sulfur compound MSM.
MSM is a chemical that occurs naturally in humans but that can also be derived from green plants. It has been clinically proven to reduce swelling, pain, redness, and stiffness in users with chronic inflammation issues.
The Top 10 Joint Health Supplements of 2017
Our team of researchers have debated, analyzed, and finally cast their votes for the best joint health supplements of 2017, and here they are:
18Nutrition’s Flexitrinol, one of the newest supplements on the market, also happened to test as the best. Their blend uses a combination of traditionally effective ingredients, cutting edge science, and basic nutrition to create a blend that is perfect for both alleviating pain and preventing further damage.
The real hallmark of Flexitrinol’s blend is the way that it works with the body’s natural defense systems. Flexitrinol doesn’t try to use harsh or invasive chemicals that can cause as much damage as they prevent, nor do they try to just cover up existing damage without remedying the situation.
Flexitrinol’s blend is based on a foundation of glucosamine and chondroitin, two of the most important chemicals in the world of joint health. Both ingredients are found naturally occurring in the body’s joint tissues and fluids, and it is their presence that stimulates the production of new collagen – the main building block of much of the body’s tissues.
Collagen molecules form the basis of the body’s skin, bones, ligaments, and cartilage, and all told account for over a quarter of the body’s total proteins. They key to a quality joint health supplement is finding a way to increase the collagen production – and Flexitrinol is the best in the business at this.
When collagen production is increased, the body begins repairing old damages by itself. New collagen is what helps to cartilage flexible so that range and ease of motion are increased. It helps create the cushioning and insulation that protects against jarring movement and helps prevent the damage of inflammation.
In addition to stimulating collagen production, Flexitrinol has one of the most potent anti-inflammatory blends as well. They use Omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids in their blend, which is a natural lubricant that helps prevent inflammation and a soothing healer that helps reduce the damage after the inflammatory response has begun. One of the reasons that Flexitrinol scored so well with our experts was that it combines MSM and Omega fatty acids with glucosamine and chondroitin to form a two-pronged attack on joint pain.
The glucosamine and chondroitin – along with other key nutrients like vitamin C – work to help the body build stronger joints and repair damaged ones, while the MSM, Omegas, and other anti-inflammatory agents work to help prevent pain and reduce the symptoms of preexisting damage. The end result is a joint health supplement that is highly effective, that doesn’t water down their mixture with unnecessary or harmful additives, and that scored higher than any other blend did in our panel’s year-long analysis of all the top brands currently on the market.
Flexitrinol has the top ingredients blend, the feedback from their former customers is very positive, and they performed the best according to our experts’ trials. This is the first year that it is eligible for this list, and it would not be surprising if it stays on top for years to come.
One of the most potent – and complicated – joint health supplement brands on the market today. Animal Flex by Animal Pak is an extreme workout supplement that uses a wide variety of ingredients to accomplish its goals and will be effective for most users (though it may not react well with everyone).
Animal Flex also uses glucosamine, chondroitin, and vitamin C to help with collagen production. Their ingredients panel, while thorough, hides the exact amount of the glucosamine and chondroitin in the blend so it is hard to say if it has more or less than competing brands.
Still, the overall quantity is significant enough that it has gotten good results from past users. Previous customers have been pleased with the results that they have gotten from taking Animal Flex, especially in terms of pain reduction after intense workouts. Animal Flex’s advertising recommends it for athletes and other people that put extreme pressure on their joints, and so they have quite a few ingredients devoted to reducing inflammation.
Its anti-inflammatory blend is more extensive than Flexitrinol’s – though that may not be a good thing. In addition to MSM and Omega fatty acids Animal Flex also uses ginger root, turmeric, bromelain, quercetin, and boswellia, among other additives. Each of these herbal ingredients has some history of improving inflammatory responses in their users, however they are far less proven and may have more serious side effects.
This usage of less-tested, more abrasive ingredients is not necessarily recommended. In the supplement world more is not always better, especially for users with sensitive stomachs and allergy issues. Animal Flex tested with our experts as a highly potent joint health blend, though it did not test quite as well as Flexitrinol. There were also a few issues with users that experienced side effects after taking Animal Flex, mainly of a gastro-intestinal nature.
Animal Flex is a highly potent joint health blend that will be effective in reducing pain and inflammation in most users, especially athletes and other individuals that put extreme strain on their joints. It is not quite as potent as Flexitrinol, and its blend may be somewhat more likely to cause side effects in some users, however Animal Flex is still considered one of the most effective joint health supplements that are available to consumers without a prescription.
Super Joint Guard
Super Joint Guard from Met-Rx is a potent joint health supplement that uses quite a few different chemicals to help create their proprietary blend. They have been on the market a long time and have a loyal following, however in recent years more technologically advanced brands like Flexitrinol have passed them in the standings.
Their ingredients panel lists them as having 2800 mg of glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM combined. This is a relatively good total, but again it is frustrating to not know the exact proportions of their blend. It is impossible to know if the ratios between the three are evenly balanced, or if a brand is cutting corners and using cheaper ingredients.
Their blend combines both flaxseed oil and fish oil and contains all three commonly used forms of Omega fatty acids. It has DHA, EPA, GLA and ALA, as well as several other forms of fatty acids. This balance is excellent for preventing inflammation, however there is only a combined 360 mg in the “Ultra Omega” portion of their proprietary blend, which is somewhat low when compared with other brands that highlight those ingredients.
Super Joint Guard does have an extensive selection of useful vitamins and minerals in their blend, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and manganese. All three of these vitamins are used in the formation of skin, bone, and joint tissue, and manganese is also a potent antioxidant that helps fight the effects of inflammation.
Super Joint Guard has a very solid ingredients blend that uses a good balance of connective tissue boosters and inflammation fighters. It could potentially be higher on this list, however it has slightly lower levels of some of the most critical ingredients than the brands above it. Super Joint Guard has been around and has been proven effective, however now it has competition from brands that are doing it just a little bit better.
Orange Triad from Controlled Labs is similar to Animal Flex in that it is a joint health supplement, plus a little more. They feature an incredibly extensive ingredients blend which could be either good or bad, depending on the user and their needs.
Orange Triad does use glucosamine and chondroitin in order to stimulate collagen growth, which is good, however they are also somewhat unclear about how much specifically is in their blend, which may frustrate some users. Overall, they use a combined total that is somewhat less than the other brands on this list, which hurts them in the overall standings.
They support their glucosamine and chondroitin content with a wide array of vitamins and herbs, including vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B6 and B12. These are somewhat helpful for joint health, however they are more useful for immune functionality and other basic biological functions.
For fighting inflammation their blend has a healthy dose of MSM, though not as much as other brands that feature it more prominently, and they pair it with some other less reliable ingredients. Orange Triad uses bromelain, ginger, bilberry, and blueberry as well, which are possibly useful for increasing antioxidants and fighting the spread of inflammation-causing leukocytes, however they lack clinical support and may also cause allergic reaction in some consumers.
As with Animal Flex, more is not always better. Orange Triad includes a lot of ingredients in their blend that have nothing to do with inflammation. This drives up the price of these already expensive supplements and may serve to cause negative reactions in some of their customers.
Also, despite the extremely long ingredients list for Orange Triad, they do not use any Omega-3, 6, or 9 fatty acids. This is a critical oversite that makes their blend far less useful for both preventing and fighting inflammation.
Overall Orange Triad has a lot going for it, however its manufacturers may find more success if they focused their blend on the ingredients that have been shown to be successful and used fewer experimental ingredients that lack the pedigree that more reputable additives have.
This supplement from manufacturers Labrada is known for its very high levels of MSM, glucosamine, and chondroitin, however it also bases its proprietary blend largely on collagen, which is a less useful ingredient that also raises some questions about the ethics of the company.
ElastiJoint has 2000 mg of MSM – more than the vast majority of joint health supplements on the market today – as well as 1500 mg of glucosamine and 1200 mg of chondroitin, amounts that put it amongst the leading brands in those categories as well.
It also contains 990 mg of vitamin C, which is an incredibly large dose. That’s 1650% of your daily recommended value, and it accounts for almost half of the upper recommended limit. While taking ElastiJoint alone will not put users at risk, individuals would be wise to watch their vitamin C intake from foods and other vitamins while taking the supplement.
Vitamin C content, however, is not the most significant issue with ElastiJoint. The single largest component of their blend is collagen, which is not considered an effective joint health ingredient.
That may seem counterintuitive to some, given that collagen is the main component of joint tissue and bones, however ingesting collagen has not been shown to have any significant impact on collagen production. The issue is that collagen is too complex a molecule; when it is digested it is broken down into its component parts and redistributed throughout the body as needed and may never even be used in the collagen production process.
Collagen is not a harmful ingredient, and in general it is beneficial for the body. The main issue with its inclusion is that it either indicates that the scientists at Labrada are not aware of how the body processes collagen, or they know that it doesn’t work but have chosen to include it anyway. Neither scenario paints a flattering picture for ElastiJoint, whose otherwise potent blend is cast under suspicion by the usage of an ineffective ingredient.
Too many disreputable companies have tried to manipulate users into purchasing their products by including collagen in an attempt to prey on their ignorance, and it is not our policy to reward such choices. Despite this, the rest of their blend is well regarded and will probably be at least somewhat effective for most users.
GAT Sport Joint Support
GAT Sport’s Joint Support blend is somewhat basic, but still highly effective. They utilize good amounts of glucosamine and chondroitin, and combine them with hyaluronic acid, another effective ingredient.
Hyaluronic acid is found in the synovial fluid of the body – the viscous substance that surrounds the joints, lubricates their movements, and cushions the force of the impacts that they endure. It pairs well with glucosamine and chondroitin and helps prevent future inflammation.
There is not much in their blend that will combat inflammation, as the only ingredient that they use for those purposes is Indian Frankincense, also known as boswellia serrata. Boswellia is used by some joint health blends as an anti-inflammatory agent, however there is very little data that actually backs up its effectiveness. There are also some mild concerns about side effect with Indian Frankincense, so it is not considered one of our more recommended ingredients.
The other problem with GAT Sport Joint Support is that they also choose to use collagen in their blend. It is a much less significant amount than ElastiJoint, but it is still enough to give our panel concern as to why they would include it in their blend.
The biggest strength of GAT Sport Joint Support is their high glucosamine content. At 1500 mg per serving, that is one of the larger doses available. They only use 500 mg of chondroitin, which is still a decent amount but not enough to rank GAT Sport Joint Support amongst the leaders.
Essentials Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Essentials Glucosamine and Chondroitin is about as basic a joint health supplement as you can find, as the only two additives in its blend are the two listed in the title. There are no other anti-inflammatory aids, collagen boosters, or even basic vitamins included in their mixture.
While this does limit the effectiveness of the blend overall, its main strength is that it uses very large doses of glucosamine and chondroitin – 1500 mg and 1200 mg, respectively, to be exact. This is far larger than the majority of other brands out there, which makes Essentials Glucosamine and Chondroitin very powerful for generating and repairing tissue.
Its weakness is in inflammation control, where it doesn’t offer any help for users that have already experienced damage. There are no ingredients in their blend to help with pain or to reduce any preexisting inflammation. It may help prevent damage in the future after it has been given a chance to work, however those users that suffer from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, or tendonitis may need to look elsewhere for relief, or at least consider a secondary supplement in addition to Essentials Glucosamine and Chondroitin.
Overall, it is hard to find a better supplement strictly when it comes to glucosamine and chondroitin, however there is more to building a complete joint health supplement blend than just overloading on those two key ingredients. Essentials Glucosamine and Chondroitin could benefit from some MSM and Vitamin C in their blend, however users looking for simplicity may be happy with the limited ingredients list.
A fairly effective joint health brand, Jointment Sport uses a high dose of glucosamine as its base and fills out their blend with other helpful ingredients that support it.
One of its main flaws is the somewhat small amount of chondroitin that the glucosamine is paired with – a relatively little 200 mg. There is also 100 mg of shark cartilage in Jointment Sport, which does contain an additional quantity of chondroitin.
It also doesn’t use a particularly large amount of MSM – only 150 mg – however they make up for that somewhat by including healthy doses of manganese, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin E. The manganese especially helps with dealing with inflammation, which is one of the weak spots in Jointment Sport’s blend.
They also choose to include turmeric as an inflammation blocker, as well as several other less proven ingredients such as quercetin, methionine, and IGF colostrum. These are not ingredients with a significant history of effectiveness, and there are some side effects concerns related to them as well.
Colostrum can possibly lead to abnormal liver tests, quercetin can cause kidney damage, and all of those additives can lead to nausea, vomiting, and other gastro-intestinal issues. Users with sensitive stomachs are not recommended to try Jointment Sport, and anyone that notices any negative changes in their body should discontinue use.
Other than those concerns, however, Jointment Sport is a reasonably effective joint health supplement that could be beneficial for some users.
Infinite Labs Joint Support
Infinite Labs Joint Support blend has a very large dose of glucosamine and a decent amount of MSM, however the rest of their ingredients blend is somewhat questionable.
Their blend includes 1500 mg of glucosamine, which is a very respectable quantity. The effectiveness of glucosamine, however, is raised significantly when it is paired with chondroitin, but there is none in Infinite Labs Joint Support. They have 500 mg of MSM, which is a useful amount but not particularly high when compared with the other brands on this list.
Its blend also contains boswellia serrata, turmeric, cayenne, and ginger. These naturally sourced additives are considered somewhat effective for treating inflammation, however they are also much less reliable and may cause side effects for some users.
The most worrisome thing about Infinite Labs Joint Support’s blend is their inclusion of white willow extracts. White willow is a pain reliever somewhat similar to aspirin in its chemical effects but without the clinical pedigree that aspirin has. It can be worrisome when consumed in excess or in users that have allergy issues, and is not among the ingredients that our experts like to recommend.
Infinite Labs Joint Support has several positives about its blend, as well as several negatives. It will be useful for some individuals, however it is not as potent as the blends above it on this list, and its inclusion of white willow is not recommended.
Ultimate Omega D-3 Sport
Ultimate Omega D-3 Sport has a very different ingredients blend than many of the other brands on this list. It ignores glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and many of the more popular ingredients and instead bases their entire ingredients blend on providing the most complete dose of Omega-3 fatty acids of any of the brands on this list.
Their blend contains over 1400 mg of total Omega-3s, including both EPA and DHA, two of the most potent forms of Omega fatty acids. EPA is known for inhibiting the spread of arachidonic acid, which is one of the main culprits for initiating the inflammatory response.
EPA is generally considered the more important form, however the two are at their most potent when combined. DHA also blocks several of the precursors to inflammation, although it can also hurt the functionality of DGLA, another inflammation inhibitor.
Ultimate Omega D-3 Sport also, as their name implies, contains high levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is another crucial component to the formulation of collagen, skin, and especially bones. Individuals that are experiencing joint and tissue pain due directly to bone-to-bone contact especially will benefit from taking more vitamin D, as will osteoarthritis sufferers.
It is unlikely that Ultimate Omega D-3 Sport will ever be as successful on its own as most of the supplements that contain glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and other highly rated ingredients, however the potency of multiple forms of Omega fatty acids and vitamin D should not be discounted.
While it certainly will never be number one on this list, it is included because it may be a useful secondary supplement when paired another blend that is lacking in Omegas or vitamin D. Ultimate Omega D-3 Sport is a potent anti-inflammatory aid that some users will find to be particularly useful as part of their larger joint care routine.
There they are: the ten most effective joint health supplements for the year 2017. All of these products will be successful for some users and to some degree, however after careful analysis, these are the rankings that our panel of joint health and wellness experts have agreed upon.
Our readers that are still looking for a blend that works for them are encouraged to start by trying Flexitrinol, the consensus top pick for our experts. Flexitrinol was not even on the market when we did our rankings last year, and it has taken the joint health supplement world by storm to claim the top spot on our list.
Its blend of glucosamine and chondroitin to support collagen generation, Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids and MSM to combat inflammation, plus a selection of other vitamins and minerals to round out the mix, is the most complete and effective joint health blend that we have analyzed. While there is no guarantee which brand will end up on top for 2018, there is no reason to believe that it won’t be Flexitrinol all over again.